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Nineteenth-Century 
American Landscape Drawings 

in the Collection of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum 




The Smithsonian Institution's 
National Museum of Design 





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Nineteenth-Century 
American Landscape Drawings 

in the Collection of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum 




"On my way a moment 1 pause, 
Here for you! and here for America!" 

Walt Whitman, Learns <>/ Crass "Inscriptions" 1855 



The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Design 



Cover: 

Thomas Moran (1837-1926) 

Cliffs of the Rio Virgin, Utah, 1873 (detail) 

Watcrcolor, white gouache, over pencil 

Gift of the artist 

1917-17-20 

Inside covers: 

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) 

Artists Sketching in the White Mountains, Neu 

Hampshire, 1868 (detail) 

Pencil 

Gift of Charles Savage Homer 

1912-12-263 



This handbook has been made possible by gc 
crous grants from The Andrew W Mellon 
Foundation and the Wyeth Endowment for 
American Art. 



Photographs by Scott Hyde 
Design by Sue Koch 

S1982 by The Smithsonian Institution 

All rights reserved 

Library of Congress Catalog No. 82-072122 



Foreword 



The Cooper-Hewitt's collection of drawings is remarkable 
for its quality, size, and depth. Appropriately for a design 
museum, the major portion of the collection is devoted to 
architectural and decorative arts designs, largely Italian and 
French, and dating before 1825. It is somewhat surprising, 
therefore, that several thousand drawings by nineteenth- 
century American realist artists form an extremely impor- 
tant part of the collection. Nearly all of the significant 
artists of the century are represented in the collection, several 
by large numbers of drawings. 

The founders of the Cooper-Hewitt collections, the Hewitt 
sisters, decided early in the twentieth century to form a collec- 
tion of American drawings in deference to the wishes of their 
grandfather, Peter Cooper, who wanted to line the corridors 
and staircases of the Cooper Union School with pictures that 
would interest and inspire the students. In order to obtain 
drawings for the collection, the Hewitt family solicited various 
artists' families. The sisters' enthusiasm for the Museum, and 
the respect it enjoyed, proved to be persuasive. Winslow 
Homer's brother donated drawings, as did Frederic Church's 
son and William Stanley Haseltine's daughter, and the widows 
of Francis Hopkinson Smith and Samuel Colman. Thomas 
Moran donated eighty-four of his own watercolors. Without 
the Hewitts' efforts, this valuable archive would more than 
likely have disappeared. 

This introduction to the Cooper-Hewitt collection of nine- 
teenth-century landscape drawings has been made possible by 
The Andrew W Mellon Foundation and the Wyeth Endow- 
ment for American Art. We arc grateful for their support of 
this project and for their faith in the Museum over the years. 

Lisa Taylor 
Director 




1. Winslow Homer (1836-1910) 

Mountain Lake, about 1895 

Black chalk, pencil, gray, blue and black 

Gift of Charles Savage Homer 

1913-18-4 



"Give mc the splendid silent sun with all his beams full- 
dazzling . . . 

Give mc a field where the unmow'd grass grows . . . 
Give mc nights perfectly quiet as on high plateaus west of the 
Mississippi, and I looking up at the stars . . . 
Give me solitude, give me Nature, give mc again O Nature 
your primal sanities!" 

Walt Whitman 
Leaves oj Grass 
"Drum Taps" 1855 



Artists and novelists, poets and philosophers in nineteenth- 
century America exulted in the beauties of the American 
landscape. The contemplation of nature and the perception of 
man's relation to it was a dominating and unifying force for 
art, science, literature, and religion. The concept of nature was 
inextricably bound up with Christian concepts of God. Nature 
and God were one; God revealed himself through nature and 
was accessible to everyone in truly democratic fashion. The 
nation's vast, rich natural resources indicated that God's bless- 
ing had been showered on America as the chosen land; the 
virgin wilderness equaled the Garden of Eden. 

Freshly independent and newly organized as an autono- 
mous political entity, the entire country experienced a swell of 
nationalistic pride in the early years of the nineteenth century. 
The patriotic response to nature's bounty was summarized by 
Thomas Cole, a leading landscape painter, in the American 
Monthly of January 1836: "Whether he beholds the Hudson 
mingling waters with the Atlantic, explores the central wilds 
of this vast continent, or stands on the margin of the distant 
Oregon, the American is still in the midst of American sce- 
nery— it is his own land; its beauty, its magnificence, its sub- 
limity, all arc his; and how undeserving of such a birthright if 
he can turn toward it an unobscrving eye, an unaffected 
heart!" Europe's domesticated, ruin-filled landscape seemed 
unexciting to most Americans, who compared it unfavorably 
to the uninhabited, virgin lands of home. An address delivered 
by the critic Richard Ray, to the American Academy of Fine 
Arts in 1825, voiced the prevailing parochial attitude: "Come 
then, son of art, the Genius of your country points you to its 
stupendous cataracts, its highlands intersected with the majes- 
tic rivers, its ranging mountains, its softer and enchanting sce- 



nery. There, where nature needs no fictitious charms, where 
the eye requires no borrowed assistance from memory, place 
on the Canvas the lovely landscapes, and adorn our houses 
with American prospects and American skies." 

America's national identity in the nineteenth century was 
largely dependent on its landscape. It was not only its greatest 
resource, it was the substitute for ancient traditional institu- 
tions. Yet most American painters felt a need to travel to 
Europe to study and observe— and to allay the underlying tear 
of being provincial. In Europe, Americans were drawn to sev- 
enteenth-century landscape paintings, particularly the work of 
Claude Lorrain, and to Dutch marine paintings. In Germany, 
they attended the Diisscldorf Academy to learn realistic ren- 
dering, and in France, they found an impulse toward realistic 
landscape painting gaining momentum, particularly in the 
work of Gustavc Courbet. French artists turned to landscape 
and to the study of nature in the open air partially as a form 
of protest against the strictures of the academicians. One group 
of French artists, which included Jcan-Baptiste Corot, 
Charles- Francois Daubigny, and Jean-Frangois Millet, was 
associated with Barbizon in the Forest of Fontainebleau. They 
painted idealized landscapes or, more often, glorifications of 
rural life, barnyard animals, and peasants in the fields. 

The American approach to landscape was always more 
direct and devotional than that of European painters. Ameri- 
can painters surrendered to their magnificent landscapes with 
a complete suppression of ego. Reminders of man's status 
within the natural order were rarely included; if figures 
appeared in the landscape, they were usually seen at a great 
distance, often turned away from the spectator. 

The close observation of nature was not confined to land- 




2. Thomas Moran (1837-1926) 
North Dome, Yoscmile, California, 1872 
Black wash, white gouache 
Gift of the artist 
1917-17-14 



scape painters; American writers expressed the same interest in 
communion with nature. Washington Irving in the Legend of 
Sleepy Hollow and James Fcnimore Cooper in the Leather 
Stocking Sago and Last of the Mohicans wove into their narra- 
tives sensitive descriptions of the New York State wilderness. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essays on Nature and Henry 
David Thorcau in Walden revealed a worship or nature and a 
belief in the moral obligation it imposed on mankind. Walt 
Whitman observed, "I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the 
journey work of the stars." In Thanatopsis, William Cullcn 
Bryant, a journalist and poet and personal friend of several 
Hudson River School painters, echoed the landscape painters' 
creed: 

"Go forth, under the open sky, and list 
To Nature's teachings, while from all around— 
Earth and her waters, and the depths ot air- 
Comes a still voice. . . ." 

The nineteenth century was America's age of discovery and 
growth. In 1803, when President Jefferson urged the purchase 
of lands west of the Mississippi, the prevailing attitude among 
government officials was that the Louisiana Purchase should 
be maintained as a territory of the thirteen original states. By 
mid-century, exploration and settlement of the West had so 
accelerated that the expansion of statehood had become inevi- 
table. Beginning with the Lewis and Clark expedition ot 1804 
to 1806, the purpose of which was to search for a water route 
to the Pacific Ocean, exploration of the immense, uncultivated 
areas of the nation had become almost a national pastime. 
Ambition and curiosity stimulated explorers, cartographers, 
botanists, geologists, ethnographers, and illustrators to make 
long and hazardous journeys across the continent. Indepen- 
dence, Missouri, was the gathering point for the caravans of 
prairie schooners (smaller versions of the Conestoga wagons) 
drawn by oxen. The Santa Fe trail opened in 1821; the Cali- 
fornia and Oregon trails, in 1842. It took five weeks to Santa 
Fc, and five months to Sutter's Fort from Independence. 

Those who chose not to make the journey were eager to 
learn about their exotic continent. Artists, and in the second 
halt ot the century, photographers as well, were regularly in- 
cluded in surveying parties and endured the risks and hard- 
ships of the trail along with the other travelers. 

With the creation by Congress in 1838 of the Corps ot 



Topographical Engineers, systematic surveys of the lands west 
of the Mississippi were mandated by the government, but it 
was not until after the Civil War that the program moved 
into high gear. Between 1867 and 1879, there were four major 
geographical and geological surveys of large areas of the West. 
They were known by the names of their leaders: Ferdinand 
V. Harden, who laid the foundation tor the United States 
Geological Survey as it exists today, began in 1867 to survey 
most ot Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah (the 
Indians called him "man who picks up stones running"); 
Clarence King established the fortieth parallel from Colorado 
to California; John Wesley Powell courageously pursued the 
course of the Colorado River (1869) and surveyed the Rocky 
Mountain Region (1871-78); and Lieutenant George M. 
Wheeler surveyed the territory west of the hundredth 
meridian (1871-79). 

Scientifically oriented trips and expeditions for commercial 
purposes usually resulted in published, illustrated reports. The 
most important of these was the Pacific Railroad survey of 
1853. The purpose of the survey was to "ascertain the most 
practicable and economic route for a railroad from the Missis- 
sippi River to the Pacific Ocean." These reports, published in 
thirteen volumes and illustrated with tinted lithographs by 
various artists, are filled with zoological, botanical, and geo- 
logical information and cost the government $1,000,000 to 
publish. 

George Catlin (1796-1872) was a remarkable artist who 
independently devoted much of his life to documenting the 
appearance ot the West and its inhabitants. In his Letters and 
Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North 
American Indians, Catlin provided a thorough description of 
the landscape he had traversed on a journey that included 
visits to forty-eight different Indian tribes. He was one of the 
first people to make a plea for preservation of lands in their 
natural state. In an article published in the 1830s entitled A 
Nation's Park, he pointed out: ". . . the further we become 
separated (and the face of the country) from that pristine 
wilderness and beauty, the more pleasure does the mind of 
enlightened man feel in recurring to those scenes, when he can 
have them preserved for his eyes and his mind to dwell upon." 
Another artist who voiced concern for the disappearing wil- 
derness behind the advancing frontier was Thomas Cole: 
"There arc those who regret that with the improvements of 




3. Thomas Moran (1837-1926) 
Toltec Gorge and Eva Cliff 
from the Hist, Colorado, 1892 
Watcrcolor, white gouache, over pencil 
1917-17-31 



cultivation the sublimity of the wilderness should pass 
away. ... I cannot express my sorrow that the . . . ravages of 
the axe arc daily increasing. The most noble scenes are made 
desolate and often times with a wantonness and barbarism 
scarcely credible in a civilized nation." Cole felt a mission to 
record and celebrate the wilderness in its virgin, untouched 
state. The great intellectual and emotional dilemma ot prog- 
ress versus preservation so much debated in the twentieth 
century a'lready seemed insoluble in the nineteenth. 

As the country prospered, the need for public parks was 
more frequently voiced. During the 1840s, the landscape archi- 
tect Andrew Jackson Downing urged the establishment of 
parks. With his influence and Frederick Law Olmsted's devo- 
tion to the cause, lands were acquired in 1851 for Central Park 
in New York. Henry David Thoreau, in an Atlantic Monthly 
article in 1856, proposed that national preserves be established. 
Little was accomplished until near the end of the century 
when the naturalist John Muir found a political ally in 
Theodore Roosevelt, and legislation for park lands moved 
ahead more rapidly. 

By the late 1850s, several artists were answering the call to 
explore and record the western wilderness: John Frederick 
Kensett in 1854, and again in 1857, 1868, and 1870; Albert 
Bierstadt in 1859 and subsequent years; and Samuel Colman, 
Worthmgton Whittredge, and Sanford Clifford, each of whom 
also made several trips. The completion of the railroad in 1869 
simplified the journey and abbreviated the travel time dra- 
matically. In terms of preservation, the most important artist 
was Thomas Moran, who probably more than any other 
painter was responsible for making the American public aware 
of its great natural heritage. He painted views ot eight dif- 
ferent areas that eventually became national parks and mon- 
uments: Yellowstone, Yoscmitc (figure 2), Zion, the Grand 
Canyon, the Grand Tctons, the Mount of the Holy Cross, 
Devils Tower, and the Petrified Forest. Moran made his first 
trip in 1871 as an unofficial member of the Haydcn expedition 
to Yellowstone. The following year, Haydcn borrowed 
Moran's watcrcolors and sketches, as well as William H. Jack- 
son's photographs of the area, to use in his argument before 
Congress for establishing Yellowstone as the first national park. 
In addition, Congress purchased Moran's large oil painting of 
Yellowstone tor $10,000, the first landscape painting acquired 
for the Capitol Building. Two years later, Congress appro- 



priated the same sum to purchase Moran's Chasm of the Colo- 
rado (both paintings are now in the Department ot the Inte- 
rior). In tribute to Moran, and in gratitude, Hayden named 
one of the peaks in the Teton Range Mt. Moran. 

Moran's letters to his wife and William H. Jackson's pub- 
lished reminiscences (Appalachia, September, 1938) describe 
conditions on the trail and Moran's fortitude in accepting the 
unaccustomed hardships ot outdoor living. They slept in tents, 
and meals were prepared at the camptire. Moran was not an 
experienced horseman and had to resort to a pillow between 
his thin frame and the saddle. His equipment, like everyone's, 
was simple. A stiff portfolio to hold his paper supply doubled 
as a drawing board. One sketch showing a camp site on the 
Platte River is labeled "Camp Vexation," although no further 
explanation is given. A twelve-day journey in 1879 from Fort 
Hill, Idaho, for a closer look at the Tetons was plagued by hot 
spells, high winds, dust storms, and forest fires, a journey 
which Moran referred to as "dismal" and "an abomination." 
The lure of the incredibly colorful and dramatic landscape 
continued to work its spell on Moran, however, and he re- 
turned over and over again. He clearly shared the feelings ot 
Ernest Ingcrsoll published in The Crest of the Continent (Chi-, 
cago, 1885): "A few rods up the canyon a thin and ragged 
pinnacle rises abruptly from the very bottom to a level with 
the railroad track. This point has been christened Eva Cliff, 
and when we had gained its crest by dint ot much laborious 
and hazardous climbing over a narrow gangway of rocks by 
which it is barely connected with the neighboring bank, our 
exertions arc well repaid by the splendid view ot the gorge it 
afforded (figure 3)." 

Although in the course of the century the country was in- 
volved in three major military conflicts— the War of 1812, the 
Civil War, and the Spanish-American War— and numerous 
battles with the Indians, only rarely was any suggestion of po- 
litical turbulence made, in landscape painting nor were most 
painters directly involved in the wars. Peace and tranquility, 
harmony and awe were the dominant characteristics ot land- 
scape pictures. Perhaps these serene and beautiful canvases were 
a form ot escapism or, perhaps, tangible reassuring evidence of 
the New World's essential and enduring natural greatness. 
There were exceptions: Frederic Church's painting of the 1860s, 
Banner in the Sky, makes direct reference to the War between 
the States, and a number ot brilliantly red canvases and others 



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of erupting volcanoes can be interpreted as emotion-filled 
allusions to the conflagration and heartbreak of the war. 
Winslow Homer spent the Civil War years with the Union 
Army providing illustrations of soldiers and army life for 
Harper's Weekly, and Jasper Cropsey, although he had actually 
lived abroad during most of the Civil War, made drawings 
for a projected painting of the Battle of Gettysburg. 

The intrusion of industry and the machine into the nine- 
teenth-century American landscape was also minimized. The 
locomotive and its tracks and the smoke stacks of factories 
were painted in minute proportions and seen at a distance. 



Landscape painting reflected the optimism of the age, not 
its problems. 

By the first quarter of the century, New York had become 
the largest city in the nation and the center of commerce. The 
opening of the Eric Canal in 1825 provided a direct water 
route between New York and the Middle West. The City also 
began at this time to assume prominence as the center of cul- 
ture 111 the country. The National Academy of Design was 
founded in 1826 and quickly became one of the best art 
schools in the country. Artists were attracted to show in its 
annual exhibitions in order to take advantage of the concen- 



10 



4. Daniel Huntington (1816-1906) 
Artists Sketching, Chocorua Pond, 
New Hampshire, 1854 

Pencil 

Bequest of Erskine Hewitt 

1942-50-161 

5. Daniel Huntington (1816-1906) 
Near Schooner Head, Ml. Desert Island, 
Maine, 1856 

Pencil, white gouache 
on gray-brown paper 
Bequest of Erskine Hewitt 
1942-50-102 



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tration of potential buyers in this prosperous city. Many of the 
artists who lived in the city turned to the banks of the Hud- 
son, among other locations in the countryside, for outdoor 
sketching. The misleading nomenclature "Hudson River 
School " has been applied to this group of nineteenth-century 
American realist landscape painters, although it was not geog- 
raphy that the painters shared, but a common approach: a 
commitment to paint landscapes in a realistic manner based 
on observation directly from nature (figure 4), but following 
compositional formulas established by the sevcntecnth-ccntury 
European painters Claude Lorrain and Salvator Rosa. Asher B. 
Durand in his "Letters on Landscape Painting," published in 
the art magazine the Crayon in 1855 and 1856, advertised the 
School's philosophy in his advice to young artists. He im- 
pressed upon them the necessity of going to nature as opposed 
to staying in the studio; he glorified the beauty of the Ameri- 
can landscape as opposed to foreign travel, and most urgently, 
he emphasized the vital importance of drawing. The general 
practice among Hudson River School painters was to travel in 
the summer making pencil, watercolor, or oil sketches from 
nature, sketching as they sat on a stool in the open air, an 



umbrella, possibly, for shade, and a portable easel or drawing 
board for support. The drawings were used as reference in 
composing the larger, finished canvases in their urban studios 
in the winter. 

By the 1820s, two painters, Alvan Fisher in Boston and 
Thomas Doughty in Philadelphia, were achieving success as 
dedicated landscape painters. Thomas Doughty (1793-1856) 
was twenty-seven years old when he was able to leave his 
business as a leather manufacturer in Philadelphia to become a 
professional painter. During the 1830s, he and his brother were 
partners in a lithography firm in Philadelphia; Doughty- 
taught art in Boston as well, and also worked as a painter in 
Washington and Baltimore. He made two lengthy visits to 
England and Europe, settling finally in New York, where his 
last years were marred by ill health and a decline in success. 
Henry Tuckerman in American Artist Life describes Doughty's 
paintings as graceful, delicate, soft, and silvery in tone. The 
compositions tend to be generalized rather than specific in 
subject matter, and appear to have been based on European 
prints or even existing paintings. A drawing in the Cooper- 
Hewitt collection pointedly-inscribed as a "study from nature' 




6. Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872) 
Brook and Trees, 1844 

Pencil 

Bequest of Erskinc Hewitt 

1938-57-1012 

7. Thomas Cole (1801-1848) 
Imaginary Landscapes, 1830-1840 
Pen and brown ink, brown wash 
Gift of Louis P. Church 
1917-4-543, -532, -534, -531 



indicates that at least on one occasion he drew in the open air. 
Typically, Doughty builds form in his drawings through short, 
parallel strokes of the pencil, but his rather tentative outlining 
results in a soft handling of the mass. 

In general, artists were well informed of the scientific dis- 
coveries and theoretical developments of the time. Samuel F. 
B. Morse (1791-1872) moved freely between the worlds of 
science and art; his simultaneous careers as painter and inven- 
tor epitomized the nineteenth-century artist's intellectual 
breadth. He was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and 
after graduating from Yale College in 1810, traveled to 
England to study with Washington Allston. Eventually he es- 
tablished himself in New York, where he organized a drawing 
society to improve the study and teaching of drawing. The 
National Academy of Design was launched from this platform 
and Morse was the first president. Morse's early drawings arc 
naive and awkward in the shaping of forms, but later sheets 
show a development of skills and a discriminating eye. In an 
1844 study of trees now in the Cooper-Hewitt collection, the 
draftsmanship is sure. The foliage is suggested in broad, paint- 
erly terms, the means economical and unlabored (figure 6). 



Eventually, Morse's scientific achievements, notably in connec- 
tion with his invention ot the telegraph, became more reward- 
ing and remunerative than his artistic exploits, and he with- 
drew increasingly from the world of art. He is better known 
now for his portraits and panoramas than for his landscapes. 

At the center of every artistic movement is a strong person- 
ality, an artist who is able to give the movement direction. In 
America, the man who led the way from history painting and 
portraiture to landscape painting was Thomas Cole ( 1801 — 
1848). Cole brought a bold and vigorous attack and a vibrant, 
new vision to landscape painting. He was born near Liverpool, 
England, and worked there as an engraver before coming to 
the United States with his family in 1818. He continued to be 
employed as a wood engraver and then as a designer and 
draftsman for his fathers businesses— a wallpaper factor)' in 
Stcubcnville, Ohio, and a floor covering factory in Pittsburgh. 
He began at this time to draw from nature, making meticu- 
lous, detailed drawings of trees, twigs, and branches. In 1823 
he determined to make a formal study of art and enrolled at 
the Pennsylvania Academy in Philadelphia, where he was ex- 
posed to the landscape paintings of Thomas Doughty. In 1825 






Cole moved to New York and took his first sketching trip up 
the Hudson River. The resulting paintings launched his career. 
The story goes that the three paintings were spotted in a shop 
window by the painters John Trumbull, Asher B. Durand, and 
William Dunlap, who recognized the young painter's ability, 
and each bought one. 

Cole's river trip was the first of many that he made, and 
was followed by excursions to other locations equally "pictur- 
esque, sublime, and magnificent": the White Mountains, the 
Adirondacks, the Catskills, and in due course, England, 
France, Switzerland, and Italy. 



Cole's importance in popularizing landscape cannot be un- 
derestimated. He found self-fulfillment in painting and draw- 
ing nature. He was a diligent draftsman and conceived his 
paintings in linear terms. The drawings run the gamut ot 
styles, purposes, and techniques, but trees, sometimes wildly 
and anthropomorphically contorted, sometimes graceful, 
sometimes as dismembered limbs strewn on the ground in the 
shape of crosses, are so common a compositional clement in 
the foreground of Cole's paintings as to be a signature. Pen- 
ciled outline sketches of specific views formed the basis of 
compositions worked up in oils in the studio. Others of his 



8. John Frederick Kcnsctt (1816-1872) 

Lake George, New York, Looking Northeast, 

1850-1865 

Pencil on buff paper 

Gift of Paul Magriel 

1961-43-2 



9. Daniel Huntington (1816-1906) 

Hemlock, North Conway, New Hampshire, 1855 

Pencil 

Bequest of Erskine Hewitt 

1942-50-39 



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drawings plot out an imagined idea. On occasion, he made a 
small drawn copy of a finished picture to provide himself with 
a record of it. Some topographical studies, rendered rather 
stiffly in pen and ink, were intended for engravings. Experi- 
mental and utilitarian rough, quick sketches were also part of 
his working method. Pen and ink or pencil were most often 
employed. The compositions were sometimes translated into 
oil sketches before the larger canvas was tackled. 

Fifteen drawings in the Cooper-Hewitt collection arc cither 
examples of the drawn "snapshots" of finished pictures that 
Cole made for his records or thumbnail sketches of projected 



paintings. Even within the diminutive size (the paper size is 
about 3'/2 by 4Vi inches and the drawn area is as small as 1% 
by 2'/2 inches), they are amazingly complete and vital. The 
lines seem to be drawn with unleashed energy, the pen mak- 
ing vivid, sure movements on the tiny sheet. The artist depicts 
the most romantic of subjects— castles on lakes, palm trees and 
mountains, sailboats under drifting clouds (figure 7). 

After Cole's untimely death in 1848, his friend Ashcr B. 
Durand (1796-1886) became the spokesman for the Hudson 
River School. Durand was born in New Jersey and chose to 
retire there in 1869. He studied in Europe, and lived in New 



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York, and he had been a successful bank note engraver and 
portrait painter before turning to landscape painting in about 
1840. His paintings arc pastoral scenes, unlike Cole's untamed 
wilderness vistas. Kindred Spirits, the most famous of his pic- 
tures, now in the New York Public Library, shows Thomas 
Cole and William Cullcn Bryant standing together on a rocky 
cliff overlooking a vast valley. Their relationship with each 
other is dependent on the natural beauty they arc contemplat- 
ing and with which they are also in communication. Durand's 
strongly expressive drawings are among the most accomplished 
of the century. Trees were a favored topic, as they had been 



with Cole, and are rendered in a combination of heavy, dark 
strokes or sott pencil, to create plasticity, along with an almost 
abstract, summary, light delineation of some areas— such as 
foliage— that is absolutely convincing. 

Like Durand, John Frederick Kensett (1816-1872) began as 
an engraver of maps and bank notes in Connecticut and New 
York and did not turn to painting seriously until about 1840, 
when, in the company of Durand, John Casilcar, and Thomas 
P. Rossitcr, he sailed for a seven-year stay in Europe. The 
Continent attracted him a number of times during his life, 
and he traveled extensively in the American Far West as well. 



10. Daniel Huntington (1816-1906) 
Peak of Mt. Otoconia, New Hampshire, 
Looking North, 1862 

Pencil, white chalk on buff paper 
Bequest of Erskinc Hewitt 
1942-50-146 

11. Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900) 
Country Scene, 1847 

Pencil and white gouache 

on pale blue paper 

Gift of Mary Rutherford Jay 

1948-127-2 




By the 1850s, Kcnsett's quiet, intimate views were much ad- 
mired and imitated. In their undisturbed serenity and cloud- 
less skies, Kcnsett's landscapes are similar in mood to the pas- 
toral landscapes of his friend Durand. Kcnsett's compositions 
fall into tour basic groups— the panorama, the vertical wood- 
land interior, the view of the sea from the shore, and the 
water or mountain scene taken from a low vantage point. A 
drawing in the Cooper-Hewitt collection is of the last type 
and demonstrates the appropriateness of Kcnsett's drawing 
technique to the silent landscapes he chose to depict: gentle, 
even strokes, with an absence of heavy accents. His convention 



for drawing foliage by using a spikcy outline with points jut- 
ting out to represent leaves is also evident in the Cooper- 
Hewitt drawing (figure 8). 

Daniel Huntington (1816-1906), a versatile and competent 
painter, was born and raised in New York, and had the op- 
portunity to study with Charles Elliott, Samuel Morse, and 
Henry Inman. Portraits, history and religious pictures, genre 
paintings, as well as landscapes, were the products of his long 
career. Over one hundred landscape drawings in the Cooper- 
Hewitt collection bear witness to his fascination with nature 
(figures 5, 9, 10). They arc atmospheric pictures of an airy and 




tranquil world, rendered with a soft line, the space flattened 
and close to the picture plane. 

In 1850, in the catalogue of an exhibition of his pictures at 
the New York Art Union, Huntington recounted the story of 
a commission earlier in his career. An enthusiastic speculator, 
plotting to erect a city on Vcrplanck's Point, "a wooded retreat 
of great beauty . . . ordered several views. During that sum- 
mer, spent in the close study of nature, such a love of land- 
scape was fostered as has often since broken out amid the 
harassing fatigues of portrait painting. . . . They arc . . . hints 
and dreams ot situations and effects which the visitor is be- 



sought to look at lazily and listlessly, through the half-closed 
eye, and not to expect that truth and reality which should be 
found in the works of the professed Landscape Painter. . . ." 
Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900) was a landscapist who 
actively advocated the direct study of nature. In an address on 
Natural Art in 1845 he urged artists to "go to some of the 
grandest recesses in nature, such as is found in her mountains 
... go to her wild forests, and view those stately Hemlocks 
and unchanging Pines, or to her cultivated valleys and see her 
majestic oaks and aged chestnuts . . . view the angry, dashing 
and foaming waters— and that solemn grandeur that pervades 



12. Frederic E. Church (1826-1900) 

Landscape near Catskill, New York, about 1865 

Oil sketch 

Gift of Louis P. Church 

1917-4-314 



13. Frederic E. Church (1826-1900) 

Coast at Ml. Desert Island, Maine, about 1850 

Oil sketch 

Gift of Louis P. Church 

1917-4-645 







the air, at evening, the unimaginable effects of light and 
shadow, and the great harmony of color existing everywhere 
. . . view them with an unprejudiced eye. . . ." 

Cropsey was born on Statcn Island and was launched 
upon his professional career with a five-year apprenticeship to 
Joseph French, a New York architect. At the age of twenty- 
one, Cropsey s abilities as a painter were already being recog- 
nized. He set oft on a two-year honeymoon and artistic tour 
of Europe in 1847, and on his return, fell into the familiar 
pattern of making sketching trips through the Hudson valley 
and New England in the warm months and painting in a 



New York studio in the winter. He moved to England in 1856 
for a seven-year stay, but continued to paint American scenes 
there, establishing his preeminence as a painter of autumn 
landscapes. Back in America in 1863, perhaps tor financial and 
patriotic reasons (he is known to have visited the battle site at 
Gettysburg), he settled in Hastings-on-Hudson. 

During the 1860s and 1870s, Cropsey became more and 
more concerned in his paintings with effects ot atmosphere 
and sunlight, especially at sunrise and sunset. Like their English 
counterparts John Constable and J. M. W. Turner, several 
American landscapists specialized in cloud studies. For Crop- 



14. Frederic E. Church (1826-1900) 

Horseshoe Falls, Niagara, from 

the Canadian Bank, 1856 

Oil sketch 

Gift of Louis P. Church 

1917-4-766A 



15. Frederick E. Church (1826-1900) 

Winter, Hudson, New York, 1870-1880 

Oil sketch 

Gift of Louis P. Church 

1917-4- 508A 




sey, and for Frederic Church, the sky and clouds became a 
dominating element in their landscapes. Cropsey published an 
essay, "Up Among the Clouds," (The Crayon, 1855) that ex- 
plains his preoccupation: "It will be difficult to name a class of 
landscapes in which the sky is not the key note, the standard 
of scale, and the chief organ of sentiment." Parallel investiga- 
tions were taking place in the world of science which rccn- 
forccd this artistic interest. About 1849, Joseph Henry of the 
Smithsonian Institution began displaying daily weather maps, 
and by 1860 about 500 stations in the country were reporting 
to him. 



Cropsey s rich legacy of drawings shows him to have had a 
hand of great proficiency. The drawings, usually in pencil and 
often on tinted papers, include architectural renderings, botan- 
ically correct plant studies, and panoramic or intimate views. 
Outlines arc made with a fine, somewhat ornamental line, 
and the masses blocked in with sure, parallel strokes of a soft 
pencil. The drawings can be characterized as descriptive, with 
an abstract refinement of their own. A pencil drawing in the 
Cooper-Hewitt, a view of massive trees surrounding a gabled 
house, appears rearranged or seen from a different vantage 
point in two of Cropsey s oils (figure 11). 



20 




Acclaimed in Europe as the successor to Turner, and consid- 
ered by his compatriots as the foremost landscape painter in 
America, Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900) enjoyed unpar- 
alleled success at a remarkably early age. He had studied with 
Thomas Cole, whose tradition he extended. Church was born 
in Hartford, but after his two-year stint with Cole in Catskill, 
he established himself in New York, which he used as a base 
for his extensive travels. Towards the end of his life, he built a 
splendid home, eclectic in style, in Hudson, New York, with a 
grand studio and a fine panoramic view of the river and 
countryside, which provided endless subjects for his numerous 



drawings and oil sketches. Church also turned to exotic, dis- 
tant areas to celebrate the wilderness. His huge canvases illus- 
trated his belief that science, religion, and art all pursued the 
same goal. He was the great synthesizer, and the last major 
landscapist who believed in the revelation of divine truth 
through painting. The tropical rain forests of South America 
and Jamaica, the icebergs of Newfoundland, the mountainous 
deserts of the Near East were the grist for his mill. In America, 
he explored the Hudson valley (figure 12) and the eastern 
seacoast from Maine (figure 13) to North Carolina. Other 
than Niagara Falls (figure 14), and the mountain ranges of 



21 




New York State and New England, he left the spectacles of 
this continent to others. 

Church drew constantly, as an aid to his memory and to 
seize the appearance of the moment. The same curiosity that 
prompted Monet's scries of haystacks at different times of day 
impelled Church's constant sketching. Beyond curiosity on 
Church's part was the spiritual search involved in the quickly 
penciled record or the carefully detailed botanical study. 
Church's landscape drawings are an expression of Ralph 
Waldo Emerson's realization that "a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a 
moment of time, is related to the whole and partakes ot the 



perfection of the whole" (Nature, 1836). 

The penciled topographical drawings that Church used as 
the basis for his large paintings arc filled with color notations, 
often poetically phrased, as "mountains, lovely blue overshad- 
owed by clouds and streaked with shadows. . . . Snow thin on 
mountains, occasional brilliant gleam; Light on mountains like 
opalescent fire." The rapidity of execution in the field is de- 
scribed in the artist's journal of his trip through Syria: "We 
gazed down into a tremendous valley narrow but deep, at the 
bottom of which lay the silvery white bed of the torrents 
which yearly sweep the valleys. Gigantic mountains rose sub- 



16. Frederic E. Church (1826-1900) 
Clouds over Maine Woods, 1860-1870 
Oil sketch 

Gift of Louis P. Church 
1917-4-1354 

17. William Louis Sonntag (1822-1900) 
Center Dome from Carter Lake, 

New Hampshire, about 1880 

Watercolor and gouache 

Gift of William H. Matthews (from the 

Estate of Frederick A. Moon) 

1956-183-1 




limely from the gorge. . . . Wc indeed were enchanted. I flung 
open my pocket sketchbook and drew the scene roughly, wc 
dashed down the path and seized another view and so on 
sketching and running until we reached the narrow plain 
where the camels had long preceded us. . . ." 

Church ottcn combined pencil and white gouache on gray 
paper for the larger studies done out of doors; the white areas 
were the means of fixing in his mind the effect of the light 
and ot describing the mass. Church is a master, even in hur- 
ried sketches, in the distribution of detailed investigation with 
summary blocking in of shapes. He has a clear understanding 



ot spatial relationships, and taken altogether, the consistent 
handling of the modeling, the light, and the space arc totally 
convincing. 

It was Church's practice to paint oil sketches (usually about 
12 by 14 inches in size) which he used as the basis for larger 
paintings; but these small sketches arc often complete enough 
to stand as finished works in their own right. In his cloud 
studies, although Church undoubtedly felt constrained to re- 
cord the cloud formations and colors as accurately as possible, 
partly as a result of the urgency imposed by the rapidlv 
changing subject, the application of the pigment to the board 



23 




18. Samuel Colman (1832-1920) 
Oak Wood, Montauk, New York, 1880 
Pencil, pen and brown ink, blue 
wash, white gouache, on pale 
green paper 

Gift of Mrs. Samuel Colman 
1939-85-4 

19. Thomas Moran (1837-1926) 
Green River, Wyoming, 1879 
Watercolor over pencil 

Gift of the artist 
1917-17-39 



is often extremely abstract. There is a definite progression 
towards abstraction in all the later studies (figures 15 and 16) 
in comparison to the early detailed renderings. The entire 
range of Church's drawings and oil sketches is contained in the 
Cooper-Hewitt collections, the generous gift in 1917 of 
Church's son. 

The most prominent artists and writers of the nineteenth 
century tended to be clustered in urban centers on the eastern 
seaboard; even the great painters of the Rockies were east- 
erners who journeyed west for that specific purpose. William 
L. Sonntag (1822-1900) was a landscape painter out of the 



mainstream. He developed a personal style and individual 
palette in a highly professional body of work. He spent his 
early years in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, and began his career 
as a painter in Ohio, Kentucky, and Maryland. His youthful 
experience included painting dioramas for a wax museum and 
two panoramas. He traveled in Europe between 1853 and 
1855, living in Florence for a year. By 1857 he was living in 
New York, and the 1860s found him visiting New England for 
sketching sites (the battlegrounds of the Civil War had in- 
truded onto his former sketching territories). He achieved his 
greatest popularity during this decade. Sonntag's compositions 







-I'; MM 







■ 



typically were concerned with the edge of the American wil- 
derness. Man's presence was suggested by means of stump- 
strewn clearings or shacks in various stages of deterioration. 
The shallow foregrounds filled with thickets, twigs, and bare 
branches were executed with dark, quick dashes of the brush- 
fragmented strokes— that conveyed the density and jumble or 
the wilderness. A watcrcolor in the Cooper-Hewitt collection 
(figure 17) shows rocks and pools painted in the opalescent, 
jewel-like colors that take Sonntag's landscapes a step away 
from reality. During the 1860s and 1870s, watcrcolors became 
more popular, and Sonntag was one of the most faithful expo- 



nents of the medium. 

An indication of the new-found respectability ot watcrcol- 
ors was the formation in 1866 of the American Society ot 
Painters in Water Colors (now the American Water Color 
Society). One of its founders was Samuel Colman (1832- 
1920), the son of a successful book publisher who had moved 
from Portland, Maine, Samuel's birthplace, to New York. His 
father's company had a reputation tor publishing tme books 
with illustrations in color, and so it was not surprising that 
young Colman chose to study painting. He was fortunate to 
have as his teacher Asher B. Durand. The Hudson River and 



25 




ft tV Jw^iUtjJ.. It** jrA IfelivW 




Lake George, the White Mountains and other New England 
areas provided material for his outdoor sketching at first, but 
in the 1860s and 1870s, he traveled extensively in Europe as 
well. He took advantage of the completion of the Union Pa- 
cific Railroad to make several cross-country trips, and also 
made journeys to Mexico and Canada. In 1879, he became a 
partner in the New York interior design firm of Louis Com- 
fort Tiffany, with which he shared a passion for Near and Far 
Eastern art. In the last decade of his life he spent more and 
more time in Newport, Rhode Island. He did little or no 
painting there, occupying himself, instead, with the writing ot 



two theoretical works, Nature's Harmonic Unity (1912) and 
Proportional Form (1920). An analysis of Colman's drawing 
style sheds understanding on his association with the Tiffany 
firm. Colman's line is undulating and ornamental; the shapes 
of tree foliage, for instance, are seen in terms of a beautiful 
pattern on the page, two-dimensional rather than atmospheric 
and plastic (figure 18). Besides landscapes and tree and flower 
studies, the seventy Colman drawings and oil sketches donated 
by Mrs. Samuel Colman to the Cooper-Hewitt collections in- 
clude cattle and other animals, boats, and figures. 

Watercolor specialists in America freely acknowledged their 



20. Thomas Moran (1837-1926) 
Index Peak, Clarks Fork, Wyoming, 1 
Watcrcolor, white gouache, over pc 
Gift of the artist 
1917-17-69 



21. William Trost Richards (1833-1905) 

Mackerel Core, Coimiiicul Island, Rhode Island, 

probably 1885-1890 

Watercolor, gouache, tempera on gray paper 

Gift of the National Academy of Design 

1953-179-1 







debt to the English artist J. M. W. Turner. Thomas Moran 
(1837-1926) was no exception. He traveled to London in 1861 
expressly to study Turners works and later painted Turner- 
csquc views of Venice. Moran was born in Lancashire, 
England, and emigrated to America at the age of seven. He 
studied in Philadelphia with James Hamilton, a leading sea- 
scape painter at that time. Following a second trip abroad in 
1867, Moran turned his attention to the Far West, making 
several trips under various commercial and governmental aus- 
pices. In 1916 he moved permanently from Easthampton, 
Lonsr Island, to Santa Barbara, California. It was at this time 



that Moran gave eighty-four drawings and watercolors to the 
Cooper-Hewitt collections (figures 19 and 20). 

Moran's reputation as an artist derives in large part from the 
splendid watercolors made during his western trips, although 
like his colleagues, Moran considered drawings and watercol- 
ors only as preparatory steps to composing his huge canvases. 
Rapid sketches in pencil, pen and ink, or pencil and wash, 
sometimes with color notations, were made on the trail. The 
vibrantly colored, finished watercolors were more than likely 
begun out of doors and completed in the studio. Moran de- 
picted the West as a vast, romantic land ot haunting and 







22. William Stanley Haseltine (1835-1900) 
Rocks and Trees, Mr. Desert Island, Maine, 
1860-1865 

Pen and black ink, watercolor 
Gift of Helen Haseltine Plowden 
1953-155-2 

23. Homer Dodge Martin (1836-1897) 
Ml. Marina 

Pencil 

Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt 

1931-73-209 



idealized beauty. He used a technique that was broad and at 
the same time delicate. His capturing of atmospheric effects 
and panoramic visions within the small format of the water- 
color sheets proves him to be a worthy disciple of Turner. 

One of the most influential books for nineteenth-century 
realist painters was John Ruskin's Modern Painters, first pub- 
lished in 1843. Ruskin put realistic rendering on a plain of 
moral necessity: "Their [the painters'] duty is neither to 
choose nor compose nor imagine nor experimentalize but to 
be humble and earnest in following the steps of nature and the 
finger of God." An American artist who was profoundly in- 



spired by Ruskin was William Trost Richards (1833-1905). 
Richards's commitment to truth in nature resulted in draw- 
ings that are remarkable in their exact precision and faithful 
description. 

During his early years, Richards had worked in Philadel- 
phia as a designer of ornamental metal work for the firm of 
Archer, Warner and Miskey, manufacturers of gas fixtures, 
chandeliers, and lamps. By 1850, however, he became a stu- 
dent of Paul Weber, a German-born portrait and landscape 
painter from whom he learned the meticulous graphic tech- 
nique that from then on characterized his style. Richards also 




admired J. M. W. Turner and Thomas Cole (in 1853 when 
vacationing in the Catskills he made a pilgrimage to Cole's 
home and grave). In 1854, Richards was commissioned to 
paint a view of Mt. Vernon, and its success brought him pa- 
trons and enough money to travel to Europe again and again 
throughout his life. At home, his time was divided between a 
farm in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and a succession of 
houses at Newport, including one on Conamcut Island in 
Narragansett Bay. Among the 200-odd drawings and water- 
colors by Richards in the Cooper-Hewitt collections, the 
large, finished watercolor of Conanicut is the most imposing 



and accomplished work (figure 21). The qualities of space, 
light, and atmosphere at the seashore inspired in Richards a 
greater lyricism and luminosity than did botanical or geologi- 
cal subjects. 

In the last decades of the century, a number of American 
painters lost their intense nationalism and turned to European 
artists for instruction and inspiration. Two who did were 
William Stanley Hascltinc (1835-1900) and Homer Dodge 
Martin (1836-1897). Like William Trost Richards, Hascltinc 
studied with Paul Weber in Philadelphia. Hascltinc, however, 
attended the Diisseldorf Academy in Germany, as well. 



24. Winslow Homer (1836-1910) 
Setting a Squirrel Trap, probably 1855 
Pencil and green, brown, and gray wash 
Gift of Charles Savage Homer 
1912-12-268 



25, Winslow Homer (1836-1910) 

Shore with Clouded Sky, about 1890 

Black chalk 

Gift ot Charles Savage Homer 

1912-12-198 




After working in New York for a period of eight years, he 
spent all but four of the remaining thirty-four years of his lite 
as an cxpatriot in Rome. Hascltinc's early drawing style re- 
flected the descriptive technique of Richards and their teacher, 
although his studies of rocks in the drawing of Mt. Desert in 
the Cooper-Hewitt collection (one of several drawings by the 
artist in the collection) arc broader and more summary than 
Richards's geologically correct delineations (figure 22). In the 
1880s, Hascltinc's style approached that of the Impressionists in 
his involvement with the effects of gentle light on outdoor 
subjects. 



This shift away from the descriptive realism of the Hudson 
River School painters to impressionism can also be seen in the 
work of Homer Dodge Martin (1836-1897). Martin was 
raised in Albany, New York, where he studied briefly with the 
sculptor Erastus Dow Palmer and with James McDougal Hart, 
a partner who had trained at the Diisseldorf Academy. Martin 
moved to New York City in 1862 and stayed until 1881, when 
he went to Europe for nearly six years and came under the 
influence of Whistler and the Barbizon School. In 1893 he 
moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, hoping that the climate would 
help his failing eyesight. Martin evolved a personal style as a 




landscapist, based not on direct observation of nature but on 
his reliance on memory. His drawings and paintings exhibit a 
strong predilection tor wide, well-balanced spaces, with ex- 
panses of clear, bright, still water. Not a ripple, not a flutter of 
leaves, not a cloud in the sky disturbs the serenity ot the 
Cooper-Hewitt drawing (figure 23). Martin's later works are 
significantly loose and vague. 

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) has been characterized as the 
greatest pictorial poet ot outdoor life in America. In the 
directness and originality of his vision, and the immediacy of 
his approach, he was able during his long career to capture 



and record some of the variety of the American landscape— the 
cultivated countryside (figure 24), the virgin forest of the fish- 
ermen and woodsmen, and the Atlantic sea and coast. Homer 
apparently received little or no formal training in art. He 
began his career working for a lithographic firm in Boston and 
then became a free-lance illustrator for weekly magazines. In 
this capacity he was sent to the front by Harper's as an artist/ 
correspondent during the Civil War. It was good training; he 
developed the ability to observe and record quickly, and to 
depict in the most telling way, and, in the process, his drawing 
skills improved. Following the war, Homer made the first of 



26. Winslow Homer (1836-1910) 

Tree Roots, Prout's Neck, Maine, 1885-1890 

Charcoal, black and white chalk on gray paper 

Gift of Charles Savage Homer 

1912-12-90 



27. Francis Hopkinson Smith (1838-1915) 

Pool in the Woods, 1875 

Watcrcolor, white gouache, over pencil on buff paper 

Gift of Mrs. F. Hopkinson Smith 

1923-41-24 




two visits to Europe. His exposure to the paintings of Courbct 
and Manet brought about a lightening and brightening of his 
palette, even though his work remained literal and restrained. 

Homer settled in New York, summering in the Adiron- 
dacks or New England. In 1881 he traveled again to Europe, 
this time to spend over a year in a small seaside town on the 
east coast of England. His drawing style loosened; hard edges 
and flat passages gave away altogether to rounder, softer mod- 
cling, the forms more enveloped in atmosphere. He began to 
draw almost exclusively in charcoal and watcrcolors. The sub- 
ject matter of his pictures also changed from anecdotal, genre 



types to direct observation of nature. The sea, the forest, and 
the mountains became his models. The intensity and vibrancc 
of his Adirondack watcrcolors of hunters in the deep woods or 
fish swimming in dark, gleaming pools of water have no equal 
in the way depth and tone arc built up in this difficult, wa- 
tery, transparent medium. 

The last two decades of Homer's life were spent on the 
seacoast at Prout's Neck, Maine, except for winter visits to 
more kindly climates and fishing trips with his brother in the 
Adirondacks and Quebec (figure 1). Prout's Neck, about 
twenty-five miles from Portland, provided him with exactly 




the environment he preferred. (It was mainly the contents of 
this .studio— drawings, some watcrcolors, and oils— that Charles 
Savage Homer gave to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum after his 
brother's death.) From the studio balcony, Winslow Homer 
had a magnificent, unimpeded view of the ocean; he also had 
a shack on a rise of ground above Saco Bay beach that com- 
manded a fine view of the water and a flat sweeping terrain 
unlike the rock cliffs near his studio. It was in his contempla- 
tion and depiction of the sea itself that he achieved the syn- 
thesis between observation and composition, the world outside 
the picture and the world of the picture in harmony. He 



seemed never to tire of drawing the sea; he studied every de- 
tail of wave, water, rock, vegetation, and weather change. 
When asked if he did not agree that beauty exists in nature 
and has only to be reproduced, he answered: ". . . you must 
not paint everything you see. You must wait, and wait pa- 
tiently until the exceptional, the wonderful effect or aspect 
comes." It is an indication of his larger vision that his discrim- 
ination and preoccupation with details did not interfere with 
the grandeur of the whole when he set it down on paper or 
canvas. The freedom and understanding that his art brought 
him is evident in the relaxed, agile execution of the late char- 




28. Francis Hopkinson Smith 
(1838-1915) 

Rock Cliff, 1878 

Charcoal, black and white chalk, 

on gray paper 

Gift of Mrs. F. Hopkinson Smith 

1923-41-1 

29. Francis Hopkinson Smith 
(1838-1915) 

Echo Lake, Morning, 1878 

Charcoal, black and white chalk, 

on gray paper 

Gift of Mrs. F. Hopkinson Smith 

1923-41-2 



coal drawings, whether the subject is transitory— a coming 
storm— or stable— tree roots (figures 25 and 26). 

An artist whose aims and reputation were trained on a 
smaller scale was Francis Hopkinson Smith (1835-1915), a 
man of many talents, who bridged the world of science and 
the arts. He was a mechanical engineer by profession. Born in 
Baltimore, he clerked in an iron works as a young man. His 
engineering credits arc impressive: he built the sea wall around 
Governor's Island, New York, another at Tomkinsville, Statcn 
Island, the Race Rock Lighthouse off New London, Connec- 
ticut, and the foundation and pedestal in New York harbor 



for the Statue of Liberty. He studied art in New York under 
Robert Swain Gifford, and in spirit, technique, and approach 
Smith's work, like his teacher's, is close to that ot the Barbizon 
School painters (figure 27). He was a voracious writer; his 
stories and essays, many of which he illustrated, fill a twenty- 
thrce-volume collection. In an essay entitled Outdoor Sketching 
published in 1915, Smith explained that he had never made a 
studio picture and that his pictures were begun and finished 
at no more than three sittings, and often at one. He claimed 
that his studio equipment consisted entirely of a white um- 
brella, a three-legged stool, his paper, watcrcolors, and char- 





coal. He went on to say, "The requirements are thoughtful 
and well-studied selection before your brush touches your 
canvas; a correct knowledge of composition, a definite grasp of 
the problem of light and dark, or, in other words mass, a free, 
sure, untrammelled rapidity of execution and last ... a real- 
ization . . . that it takes two men to paint an outdoor picture; one to 
do the work and the other to kill him when he has done enough." 
Smith was an artist who practiced what he preached, and the 
thirty watercolors and charcoal studies in the Cooper-Hewitt 
collections show his total understanding of each medium. Al- 
though they arc clearly well planned and solid in execution, 



the sensibility is poetic (figures 28 and 29). 

As the turn of the century approached, landscape painting 
fell into disfavor. America was caught up with the urban con- 
cerns of the industrial revolution, and some of the public were 
disillusioned by its effect on the American wilderness. During 
the last two decades, however, a re-evaluation of nineteenth- 
century American realistic landscapes has taken place. It is to 
be hoped that the change in attitude is in part an increased 
sensitivity to the need of preserving what is left of the wilder- 
ness these artists painted and drew so lovingly and honestly. 

Elaine Evans Dec 

Curator of Drawings and Prints 35 



Selected General Bibliography 



Boorstin, Daniel J. The Americans, The National Experience. New 
York: Random House, 1965. 

Novak, Barbara. Nature and Culture, American Landscape and 
Painting, 1825-1875. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980. 

Stebbins, Theodore E., Jr. American Master Drawings and Watcrcolor. 
New York: Harper & Row, 1976. 

Tuckcrman, Henry T. American Artist Life. New York: 
G. P. Putnam, 1867. 



Exhibition Catalogues: 

Atlanta, The High Museum of Art. The Beckoning Land. 
Introduction by Donelson F. Hoopes, 1971. 

Brooklyn, The Brooklyn Museum. Drawings of the Hudson Rivet 
School. Introduction and Catalogue by Jo Miller, 1969. 

Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum. The Hudson River School: 19th 
Century American Landscapes in the Wadsworth Atheneum. 
Introduction by Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., 1976. 

New York, The National Academy of Design. Next to Nature, 
Landscape Paintings from The National Academy of Design. 
Introduction by Barbara Novak, 1981. 

Washington, D. C, National Gallery of Art. American Light, 
The Luminist Movement, 1850-1875. Introduction by John 
Wilmerding, 1980. 



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